Sunday, May 2, 2010

Illinois Half Marathon

Yesterday was my big day. The day that I have been training for for over two months, the Illinois half marathon.

The day started very early at the Robinson household, 4:00 a.m. for me and 4:20 for everyone else. I wanted to be on the road by 5 a.m. The race location is 1 1/2 hours away and I wanted to get there early enough to get warmed up and properly hydrated. Race time was set for 7:30 a.m. We made it out of the house by 5:10, not bad with two little kids, and met my parents near the interstate entrance. From there we caravaned on to Champaign. Getting into town took a bit longer than I had hoped and I really began to double think my decision to not go down the night before. Oh well, too late. We were on location and parked by about 6:50. I was able to get in a warm up run and Robin, the kids and my parents were able to find a good spot near the start to see me off.

The race started about ten minutes late. I mention this because that ten minutes was apparently enough to screw up a fellow runners pre-race bathroom needs. I had to help form a human wall so he could pee in a bottle. Makes me wonder what he would have done had the race started on time.

That is him in the white shirt, black shorts and all the way to the right.


We started under grey skies, low 60's, fairly humid with a steady but not over powering wind. Really good conditions actually, could have used a bit less humidity, but I will not complain. The race route itself was flat and very nice. We ran through neighborhoods, downtown Champaign, a nice park and back to Memorial Stadium for the finish. All along the route people were lined up cheering us on. People had signs, dressed in funny costumes, had noise makers, and generally created a party atmosphere. Heck of a way to motivate a runner!

My cheering section.

My goal was to run the race in 1hr 45min or less. In order to do that I was going to need to average 8 min/mile. I have done that on my long runs on several occasions so I felt pretty confident in meeting my goal. I took off with adrenaline flowing...maybe a bit too much. I ran the first 9 miles averaging around a 7:30 min/mile. Then I hit a wall. My pace dropped like a rock. I had several people yelling and encouraging Superman, I did have to admit at mile 12 that I was feeling a bit more like Clark Kent. That, however, would change.

Upon entering the stadium, seeing all the people in the stands, and the time on the clock was all the boost I needed. I was able to kick it into high gear and finish with a time of 1:43:06. I exceeded my goal, finished 314th of 6500, 32 in my age division, and trimmed 13 minutes off my time from last year. Not a bad run if you ask me.

Kicking to the finish.

After wandering around scanning the stands and drinking water I finally found Robin. She pointed the way to my parents and the kiddos who had watched the finish from the stands. They were all very excited and proud of me. Robin, doing a great job of crewing for me, had gatorade and peanutbutter and jelly sammiches for me. We hung out in the stands for a bit letting me cool down and recover. This allowed us to see the marathon winner come across. It is pretty impressive to see a guy run 26.2 miles in 45 more minutes than it took me to run 13.1. That guy was moving. After that we packed up our stuff, made it back to the car and head out. I spent the ride home recovering, re-hydrating and thinking about next year.

Reunited with Robin after the finish.



Anonymous said...

Way to go Chris!!! Both Dad and I were very proud of you and plan on being part of your cheering section again next year!!!!


Anonymous said...

Congrats Bro! Wish I could have been there to cheer you on too!


Chris said...


You are more than welcome to join us next year. The year after are on my marathon relay team.